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Cardinals Still Bluffing?

NFL Draft Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Yesterday, Cardinals’ GM Steve Keim and HC Kliff Kingsbury showed a couple of cards in their hand to the fans and the NFL world by intimating that the early focus of their draft will be at the CB and WR positions.

To which I tweeted:

Minutes after tweeting this, Todd Cefaratti responded:

To which I wrote:

Heck, Michael Bidwill, Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury might as well show up the Cardinals draft headquarters on draft night this year wearing trench coats, fedoras, Blues Brother Ray Bans, eye patches, fake mustaches and chain smoking Marlboro golds.

A few days ago while making a guest appearance on the ROTB podcast with Blake and Johnny, NFL analyst Tony Pauline told us precisely what he’s been hearing with regard to the Cardinals’ draft plans —- in full detail, mind you!

Now, before I reiterate what Tony Pauline said, Pauline’s ears were on full alert back at the 2019 NFL Combine when he reported hearing that Kliff Kingsbury “was telling people that Kyler Murray at #1 is a done deal.”

I don’t know about you, but I 100% believe in Pauline’s 2019 Combine report. I believed it then, and I certainly believe it now.

The thing is, Kingsbury and momentarily effed up Bidwill’s and Keim’s covert ops.

Chalk it up to being a newbie at this kind of NFL chicanery.

After all, he was then only a month into learning the Bidwillean code of deception.

Even after being the GM for seven years, Keim breached the Bidwillean code at the 2019 Combine when he said, “Yes, Josh is your quarterback, right now.”

The report of Kingsbury boasting about Kyler Murray being a done deal wasn’t the only inside info that Tony Pauline was reasonably accurate about.

When Hakeem Butler was placed on the IR near the end of the pre-season in 2019, Pauline reported that the Cardinals were somewhat relieved to put Butler on the IR because the way Butler had been struggling in practice was making it highly uncertain that he, as the 1st pick in the 4th round of the 2019 draft, would even make the 53 man roster.

Pauline reported once again this past training camp that the coaches had completely soured on Butler and that they were trying to trade him. As we know now, that indeed was the case and the two year leaks of Butler’s struggles had become so much of a floodgate by then that no team was willing to offer even a 7th rounder for the former Iowa St. star.

Therefore, we might want to sit up and pay attention to what Tony Pauline has been hearing with regard to the Cardinals’ draft plan, which, according to the Led Zeppelin connoisseur, is:

Option 1: Patrick Surtian II, CB, Alabama

Option 2: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Option 3: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Option 4: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

It’s an excellent interview. If you haven’t as yet heard it, click here:

https://www.revengeofthebirds.com/2021/4/21/22395260/revenge-of-the-birds-podcast-draft-insider-tony-pauline-pro-football-network-discusses-cardinals

Now, whether there is credence to this batting order as prescribed by Pauline, or not, per the consensus of hundreds of thousands of mock drafts, this pecking order would seem to be right on cue...as in...with precisely what the rest of the world is thinking.

Isn’t that exactly the kind of predictable perception that Bidwill, Keim and Kingsbury want?

Or, could Keim and Kingsbury be actually telling the truth this time?

Hint: I think they have been deliberately omitted any mention of the RB and Edge positions, because that’s where a key facet of their 1st round focus is, beyond having the fortune of finding Patrick Surtain II, DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle still on the board at #16.

Let’s not forget that Peter Schrager of NFL Network who is batting 2 for 2 in the Kingsbury era in predicting the Cardinals’ Round 1 picks (Kyler Murray and Isaiah Simmons) has been predicting a Cardinals’ trade up to #7 with the Detroit Lions, giving up as much as the #16 pick, plus 2022 1st and 3rd round picks in order to select TE Kyle Pitts of Florida or (now that Pitts seems to be a top 6 lock) WR Jaylen Waddle.

But —- hold your horses —- yesterday while vowing to “be aggressive” in this year’s draft, Steve Keim said that the aggressiveness he is talking about is most likely going to be in trading down from #16, not up.

True, y’think?

Or —- false?

Actions Speaking Volumes?

According to NFLTradeRumors.com, here are the prospects whom the Cardinals have met with: (with Lindy’s NFL player comps)

  • QB Peyton Ramsey, Northwestern (Nathan Peterman, LV)
  • QB Sam Ehlinger, Texas (Tim Tebow)
  • RB Demetric Felton, UCLA (Tony Pollard, DAL)
  • RB Javian Hawkins, Louisville (Justin Jackson, LAC)
  • RB Kene Nwangu, Iowa St. (STs ace)
  • WR Kadarius Toney, Florida (Robert Woods, LAR)
  • WR Anttony Schwartz, Auburn (Phillip Dorsett, SEA)
  • WR Terrace Marshall, LSU (Denzel Mims, NYJ)
  • TE Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame
  • TE Jacob Harris, UCF
  • T Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma St. (Daryl Williams, BUF)
  • T Larnel Coleman, Massachusetts
  • T Carson Green, Texas A&M (Austin Wentworth)
  • LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa (Leighton Vander Esch, DAL)
  • LB Wyett Hubert, Kansas St. (Trey Flowers, DET)
  • LB/S JaCoby Stevens, LSU (Jeremy Chinn, CAR)
  • LB Amen Ogbongbemiga, Oklahoma St. (Tegray Scales, PIT)
  • CB Asante Samuel, Jr., Florida St. (Jaire Alexander, GB)
  • CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern (Dre Kirkpatrick)
  • CB Aaron Robinson, UCF (Cameron Sutton, PIT)
  • CB Deommodore Lenoir, Oregon St. (Damon Arnette, LV)
  • S Jordyn Peters, Auburn

Keim’s Pro Days:

Miami:

  • OLB/DE Jaelan Phillips (Ryan Kerrigan)
  • DE Gregory Rousseau (Jevon Kearse)
  • OLB Quincy Roche (Jeremiah Attaochu)
  • TE Brevin Jordan (Jonnu Smith, NE)

Alabama:

  • WR Jaylen Waddle (Tyreek Hill)
  • WR DeVonta Smith (Marvin Harrison)
  • RB Najee Harris (Todd Gurley)
  • T Alex Leatherwood (Jason Spriggs)
  • G Deonte Brown (Kevin Zeitler)
  • C Landon Dickerson (Ryan Jensen)
  • DT Christian Barmore (Leonard Williams)
  • ILB Dylan Moses (Myles Jack)
  • CB Patrick Surtain II (Jimmy Smith)

Clemson

  • RB Travis Etienne
  • WR Amari Rodgers
  • RB Cornell Powell
  • T Jackson Carman (Donovan Smith)

Theory:

I believe that the odds are pretty strong that the player the Cardinals select in Round 1 is one whom Steve Keim saw live at his pro day or one whom he has met with multiple times on Zoom, like Taven Collins.

Therefore, Keim and Kingsbury mentioned their interest in the CB and WR positions because of other teams’ potential interest in trading up for one of the top CBs or WRs.

Because, Steve Keim wants very much to trade down, if he can get a deal with good value.

And if Keim can trade down into the latter third of Round 1, I believe that he is hoping to draft one of these 4 players:

  • Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
  • Jaelan Phillips, OLB/DE, Miami
  • Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
  • Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
  • Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
  • T Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma St.

Because the two position groups that Keim and Kingsbury mentioned (CB and WR) are arguably the deepest position groups in the draft, it’s reasonable to believe that they are planning to pick up a 3rd round pick by moving down in oder to draft a CB in Round 2 and a WR, Edge or TE in Round 3.

After a trade down, the Cardinals’ pick in Round 1:

Steve Keim would now be officially on the Clemson Tiger bandwagon, taking their most versatile All-American player on defense in 2020 and taking their most versatile All-American player on offense in 2021. Plus, as an added bonus, it’s no secret that Travis Etienne wants to be an Arizona Cardinal.

There are so many good CBs in this draft that Keim can hope that one of his favorite CBs will be available at pick #49, like:

  • Asante Samuel Jr., FSU
  • Caleb Farley, VT
  • Greg Newsome II, Northwestern
  • Aaron Robinson, UCF
  • Elijah Molden, Washington
  • Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse

In Round 3, Keim could covet one of the following WRs:

  • Anthony Schwartz, Auburn
  • D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC
  • Tutu Atwell, Lousiville
  • Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma St.
  • Amari Rodgers, Clemson
  • Cornell Powell, Clemson
  • Dyami Brown, North Carolina
  • Simi Fehoko, Stanford

Or Keim could one of the following Edge players in Round 3:

  • Patrick Jones II, Pittsburgh
  • Wyatt Hubert, Kansas St.
  • Quincy Roche, Miami
  • JaCoby Stevens, LSU
  • Victor Dimukeje, Duke
  • Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma
  • Joshua Kaindoh, FSU
  • Baron Browning, Ohio St.

Or Keim could covet a TE in Round 3:

  • Brevin Jordan, Miami
  • Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame
  • Jacob Harris, UCF

Whom do you believe?

  • A. Keim and Kingsbury
  • B. Tony Pauline
  • C. Peter Schrager
  • D. All of the above
  • E. None of the above

What’s your answer and why?